Unai Emery: Three Things The Arsenal Boss Must Address If He’s To Become A Success
Arsenal last week made a managerial appointment for the first time in 22 years which saw the arrival of former Paris Saint-Germain boss Unai Emery, a decision that shocked many with previous reports suggesting that Mikel Arteta would get the job.
However, Ivan Gazidis went for experience and given that he intended to make an appointment before the World Cup, this has been a swift process which has left the Gunners with a credible manager who has a history of winning trophies and playing progressive football.
Arsenal have been stale for a long time in terms of their style of football and general preparation for matches, an indictment which has led them to find themselves bottom of the top six mini-league in the Premier League.
The Europa League semi-finalists have some work to do to get back up the table and challenge their rivals, and here are three areas Emery needs to focus on:
3: Clear-out Deadwood
Arsenal have a few players who no longer have the ability to compete on the levels they want to get to. Some were out on loan last season and must find new clubs, while quite a few are on extensive contracts and enjoyed considerable first-team minutes last term.
David Ospina, Shkodran Mustafi, Danny Welbeck, Calum Chambers should all be shown the door. Lucas Perez, Joel Campell, Carl Jenkinson, Cohen Bramall and Emi Martinez also need to be let go to lighten the wage bill.
Jack Wilshere’s situation also needs to be clarified with the midfielder out of contract in a matter of weeks. We’ve been led to believe that a deal had been agreed, but Arsenal have changed managers since then.
2: Revolutionise Philosophy
Gazidis was right in his assessment that he wanted a manager who respected the values of the club – one being that the north London giants need to play expansive football. Contrary to popular belief, a religious adherence to such a philosophy hasn’t been the reason why Arsenal have regressed severely in recent years.
Rather, for a club that boasts about a brave footballing philosophy, they didn’t do it well. Other clubs have surpassed their ability to build the ball from the back, to play interchanging passes in midfield, and winning the ball back in unison.
Emery said “possession” and “pressing” will be the two key components to his philosophy at Arsenal, a statement which should come as music to Gunners fans’ ears.
1: Get Ozil Working
Ozil is Arsenal’s talisman, but he also hasn’t worked in north London. He may have put in some good individual performances and was outstanding in the 2015/16 season, but he’s yet work in a system which has served the team in general.
The German is only comfortable in one system – 4-2-3-1 with him as the No.10. Unfortunately for modern coaches, that leaves the team exposed in the middle, especially if the opposition play a flat three in midfield.
It means Ozil would have to move wide – something he detests – or drop deeper into a midfield role where he’d need to show aggression – a picture quite difficult to imagine.
There is always the option of dropping Ozil altogether.
Good luck, Unai!